FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Veteran defender Omar Gonzalez has hoisted MLS Cup three times while playing for teams coached by Bruce Arena, and the 33-year-old center back is now eager to replicate that success by adding a fourth title as he reunites with Arena – but this time, on the New England Revolution.
“To see the growth that they've had in the past couple of years since Bruce's arrival, there's no question about it now,” said Gonzalez. “That's why I'm really excited to be a part of it. I want to be a part of this growth. I want to be a part of adding a star to the jersey, to making the fans proud [and] seeing a full Gillette Stadium.”
Gonzalez is a 10-year MLS veteran who is extremely familiar with what it takes to be a champion. He played the first seven seasons of his career under Arena starting in 2009 with the LA Galaxy, where he won three MLS Cup titles in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
To add to his trophy case, those seven seasons with Arena were also decorated with two Supporters’ Shields in 2010 and 2011, four MLS Best XI selections in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014, and one MLS Defender of the Year award in 2011.
“Speaking to our Galaxy days, those are some great memories,” said Gonzalez. “From Supporters’ Shields to MLS Cups, to a lot of winning. That’s what I remember the most, is just winning and a good environment, a positive culture, a place you wanted to be every day where you love coming into work.
“I remember an environment where Bruce gave a lot of leeway, but expected the most from his players, and so I expect to be coming to New England and seeing that same sort of culture here.”
The trophies don’t stop there. Gonzalez played three seasons with Mexican side Pachuca from 2016-19, helping them capture the Liga MX championship in his first season before making nine appearances en route to the 2017 Concacaf Champions League title.
In fact, that’s an area that Gonzalez can make an impact from the very beginning, as the Revs will begin their journey in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 against Cavaly AS on February 15.
“You need experienced players,” said Gonzalez. “Bringing me along, I have the experience. I've played in this tournament before. I can help the other guys who maybe don't have that experience, be a good sounding board.”
Arena’s message to Gonzalez joining the team was that he will push himself and everyone around him to get better. With added competition on the roster, each player will improve.
“[Henry] Kessler and [Andrew] Farrell are a great center-back pairing,” said Gonzalez. “I think I'm coming in to add to the competition. I want to be on the field just as much as they do, and I think as a player, as [are] those two guys, you should never be satisfied, and you should always be trying to push to be your best, and so I'm coming in to push them.
“I'm coming to push myself, and hopefully we can all make each other better, and we can make it an even better 2022 than they had in 2021. That's the goal.”
With his winning mentality and dedicated work ethic, Gonzalez is thrilled to be joining a locker room with players who embody those same attributes.
“I'm a big believer in having that tight-knit bond, that camaraderie. The good locker room leads to great things on the field,” said Gonzalez.
“I've heard and I've read the articles how it’s just a bunch of guys who played college and just a lot of good guys. I spoke with Bruce and from top to bottom, everyone shows up, everyone does their business, everyone's ready to work. There’re good times off the field and who doesn't like being a part of an environment like that, where you can have those bonds and then step on the field.
“Ultimately, that's why we're all doing it. We all want to win. I want to win, and that's why I'm joining the Revs.”